Helicopter crashes onto Canterbury golf course

A bride and groom were among those injured in a tragic helicopter crash at Terrace Downs Resort golf course in Canterbury on Saturday afternoon.

The helicopter crashed onto the resort's golf course in Windwhistle, Selwyn District, just after take-off at 3pm on Saturday. Fire and Emergency, police, four ambulances and a helicopter rushed to the scene.

Four people were onboard the aircraft at the time. St John say three are seriously injured, while the fourth has moderate injuries. All four have been taken to Christchurch Hospital.

Ronnie Ronalde, the group operations manager for CPG Hotel Group, says the resort was hosting a wedding at the time.

"A bridal party were going off to take some photos in the helicopter and off they went. The next thing we heard is that it had come down on one of the fairways."

He said the guests were traumatised and are now off-site. 

"It's horrible. Just the confusion. They are all waiting for their family to have all the photos and this accident happens. Devastating for all the family, and the staff who were there, all of us first, to try and help with it. It is quite a traumatic day."

There were a number of golfers around, including a doctor, who saw the crash and rushed over. About half a dozen resort staff also ran to the scene to help, including one that got into the crashed chopper to help. 

Ronalde described their actions as "tremendous". 

"We tried to help them until the ambulance and police all arrived."

It's unclear what caused the helicopter to crash. Debris from the helicopter is strewn across the fairway, with the tail metres from the main body of the chopper. 

A Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokesperson told Newshub the accident occurred after take-off.

"Since we were notified of the accident, our Investigation and Response team has been in close contact with Police and first responders as they have attended the accident scene.

"We are currently working with the Transport Accident Investigation Commission to determine which agency will lead the investigation into this accident.

"Once this has been decided, the agency leading the investigation will determine what level of investigation will be launched."

The CAA is asking those in the area to avoid the accident site "to ensure that the site is not contaminated, which could hinder the investigation".